- Family of printers active in Paris, Frankfurt-am-Main, and Hanau, 1526-1627. Christian Wechel, born near Antwerp, became a Paris bookseller about 1518 and acquired a printing shop in 1526. In 1550 his will transferred the Paris firm to a nephew, Andreas Wechel, and other properties in Cologne to another nephew, Simeon Wechel. Andreas fled from Paris after the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of Huguenots in 1572 and re-established his business successfully at Frankfurt. When he died in 1581, two sons-in-law, Claude de Marne and Jean Aubry, also Protestant refugees, took charge of his press. At the same time, Johann Wechel, whose relation to the others is not clear, moved from Cologne and began printing in Frankfurt. Because Frankfurt was becoming strongly Lutheran and hostile to Calvinism, Jean Aubry moved his firm to Hanau, where Calvinism was predom-inant. In 1613 Clemens Schleich, Marne's son-in-law, reunited the two German branches, but the business did not prosper during the Thirty Years' War, and by 1627 it had become a merely local opera-tion. For most of its existence, the Wechel family was linked to Calvinistic Protestantism and also to Renaissance humanism. Chré-tien printed Book Three of François Rabelais' Pantagruel and many editions of Erasmus' works. Andreas at Paris was the main printer used by the French Calvinist philosopher Peter Ramus. But once it settled in Germany, the firm was distinguished mainly by publication of neo-Latin literature, classical philology, and works by Ramus and his followers. In the 1590s the family also produced many editions of a Neoplatonic or Hermetic sort, including books by Giordano Bruno, John Dee, and Giambattista della Porta.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.